This latest edition is a paperback version of the hardback volume originally published in 1985. It is still considered to be one of the standard works on the subject of Welsh surnames. As is explained in the preface, “the primary aim of this work is not to explain the ‘meanings’ of Welsh names; rather it tries to provide a historical survey of how distinctive Welsh surnames came about.”
As one reading the work as a local and family historian rather than an academic, I think it is important that fellow researchers understand how, why, and where surnames originated and the sources used to corroborate the information. The cross-section of sources used is described at the beginning of the volume, and includes Latin Court Rolls, Shropshire parish registers, parliamentary and electoral registers, amongst many more. There is also a comprehensive bibliography included.
The first section is divided into five parts. The first discusses the orthography of Welsh surnames. It isn't easy to explain the peculiarities of the Welsh language in such a condensed way, but this is essential information for a non-Welshspeaker studying Welsh genealogy. It gives an introduction to mutations, and the distinctive Welsh sounds such as ‘ll’, ‘ch’, ‘dd’. It is apparent that this section has been written authoritatively by one with considerable knowledge and understanding of the Welsh language, as the late T. J. Morgan was.
A description of the patronymic system can be found in the second part, a system very prevalent here in Wales and is explained in great depth and clarity to the unfamiliar. Countless examples are used throughout and sources are again citied. The part extends to over 14 pages, and I would encourage any researcher of family history to read this if contemplating Welsh family history earlier than the nineteenth century.
Descriptive surnames are explained in the third part, again discussing the related peculiarities of the Welsh language. This is followed by place-names as surnames, once again using informative examples and references. The final part explains hypocoristic names, showing how English border county surnames have influenced pet forms of familiar Christian names, and how pet names have developed into Christian names in their own right.
The majority of the book is taken up by alphabetical classification and features a useful cross-referencing system, explaining why 'Jones' will be discussed under 'Ieuan', as will 'Evans'. Under each surname the book explains the development of the surname, with occurrences and variation, along with references.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in Welsh surnames. As an academic, historian or genealogist, it includes something for everyone and has, in my view, fulfilled is primary aim.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Ceir hefyd penodau'n trafod cefndiroedd a chyd-destun nifer o gyfenwau, megis y Deddf Uno, Brad y Llyfrau Gleision, ysgolion cyfrwng Cymraeg, S4C, a Bwrdd yr Iaith.